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Managing for EthicalOrganizational Integrity

Managing for EthicalOrganizational Integrity


Principles and Processes for Promoting Good, Right, and Virtuous Conduct
Abe J. Zakhem and Daniel E. Palmer

Managing for EthicalOrganizational Integrity: Principles and Processes for Promoting Good, Right, and Virtuous Conduct Copyright Business Expert Press, LLC, 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any meanselectronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other except for brief quotations, not to exceed 400 words, without the prior permission of the publisher. First published in 2012 by Business Expert Press, LLC 222 East 46th Street, New York, NY 10017 www.businessexpertpress.com ISBN-13: 978-1-60649-157-7 (paperback) ISBN-13: 978-1-60649-158-4 (e-book) DOI 10.4128/9781606491584 A publication in the Business Expert Press Strategic Management collection Collection ISSN: 2150-9611 (print) Collection ISSN: 2150-9646 (electronic) Cover design by Jonathan Pennell Interior design by Exeter Premedia Services Private Ltd., Chennai, India First edition: 2012 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States of America.

Abstract
For some time people thought that business and ethics constituted separate and mutually exclusive realms. Businesses that perpetuate such a belief or still hold that business ethics is an oxymoron are at risk. Indeed, managers are now being called on to actively promote ethicalorganizational integrity. This means understanding the principles that dene and creating an organizational culture that measurably encourages ethical conduct. The reason for this shift in paradigm is clear. Ethicalorganizational integrity drives long-term company success and sustainable value production, serves to prevent illegal conduct, and best contributes to overall social welfare. This book provides a brief introduction to and general framework for managing for ethical-organizational integrity that will be useful to managers and business students alike.

Keywords
Business ethics, corporate social responsibility, ethics programs, integrity management, legal compliance, stakeholder management

Contents
Introduction ..........................................................................................ix Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Doing What Is Good .....................................................1 Rights, Duties, and Other Obligations .........................29 Ethics Programs ...........................................................61

Conclusion ..........................................................................................87 Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Ford Motor Companys Code of Basic Working Conditions.......................................................89 APSC Capability Checklist ............................................93 International Code of Ethics for Sales and Marketing .................................................97 Universal Declaration of Human Rights .........................99 Shareholder Key Rights as Identied by the OECD ........103 Sarbanes Oxley Summary ............................................105 Appendix F U.S. Federal Sentencing GuidelinesChapter 8 ...........107 8B2.1. Eective Compliance and Ethics Program ........107 Appendix G Johnson & Johnson Credo .............................................111 Novartis Commitment to Human Rights.......................112 Texas Instruments Ethics and Value Statement ...............113 Notes..................................................................................................117 References ...........................................................................................121 Index .................................................................................................129

Introduction
Being a person brings with it serious existential concerns about how we ought to live our lives. To ignore these concerns is to live supercially and without deep meaning, conviction, or integrity. The study of ethics tries to provide critical insight and guidance regarding how we ought to live our lives. More specically, the study of ethics involves determining what truly constitutes good, right, and virtuous behavior. Correlatively, actually becoming an ethical person means trying to live by the standards and ideals at which we rationally arrive and persuading others to do the same. In this process several questions inevitably arise. To what extent are we obligated to do good for ourselves, others, and society? When seeking that which is good to what extent do we need to respect the rights of other persons? What exactly is a virtue and how do we actually promote virtuous behavior? What ought we to do when conceptions of the good, right, and virtuous conict? Grappling with these questions and acting on the often challenging implications that answers bring constitutes what Plato famously called an examined life and puts one on the path of a life truly worth living. As the unexamined life is not worth living in general, so too it is not worth living if we ignore ethics in our professional, business lives. Much of our lives are spent at or thinking about our jobs and the decisions we make in business aect a great number of people not directly involved in our more discrete transactions. After all, business is a complex, interrelated, and exceedingly inuential social practice where the impact of a single decision may have profound consequences. Engaging in business without critical regard for the harm we may cause others or the good we can produce, the rights we may infringe upon and the obligations we ought to respect, and how our conduct aects the kind of persons we and others ought to be is unbetting a life worth living. Fortunately, there are few who disagree with the belief that we ought to be ethical businesspersons. In philosophical, economic, and even managerial theory the general value and importance of business ethics has never really been denied. Indeed, the moral philosopher and then economist Adam Smith predicated capitalism and the rational pursuit of ones

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self-interest on the idea that this sort of hedonism best promotes individual and social utility. Smith also appealed to the importance of justice as a virtue and heralded what he and others deemed the natural rights of liberty and property. We ought to leverage our property to help secure our own rational and freely chosen preferences and encourage others to engage in market relations to do the same for themselves. In this sense capitalism and economics have never been value neutral or amoral. Even laissez faire free market capitalists, as it will be demonstrated in chapters 1 and 2, believe that business is a practice designed to ultimately promote the greater good and demands managerial allegiance to at least a limited conception of corporate social responsibility. Economics, business, and management theory is built upon a rather sophisticated ethical framework, relying on normative idealsone ought do that which is good, respect that which is right, and act virtuouslyto justify and promote a complex variety of market transactions. Despite a great deal of academic accord, thoughts that business and ethics constitute mutually exclusive domains, or more forcefully that business ethics is an oxymoron, have prevailed. Statements like Business and ethics? There is a contradiction in terms! may still ring true in many circles. It is important to note, however, that these perceptions and statements speak to judgments regarding the way things are perceived to be and not necessarily to judgments regarding the way things ought to be. Philosophers accordingly draw a distinction between empirical or descriptive judgments (how things are) and normative judgments (how things ought to be). This technical, linguistic distinction echoes a degree of common sense likely instilled in us since children. Just because everyone is doing something, like drugs, stealing, or jumping o a bridge, does not mean that everyone ought to. So, the empirical statement that business ethics is an oxymoron does not mean that we are saying that we ought to behave unethically in business, for example, by defrauding shareholders, exploiting child labor, deceiving consumers about product safety issues, engaging in foreign corrupt practices, etc. The collapses of business giants like Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco and the more recent international nancial meltdowns have forcefully shifted public attention to normative considerations in business. Like never before businesses are now called on to change the way things are

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to better align with the way things ought to be. For managers this means working to establish and maintain ethical corporate cultures, inhibiting unethical conduct, and positively promoting ethicalorganizational integrity. Despite a considerable degree of imprecision, managing for ethical-organizational integrity seems to reect at least three interrelated assumptions. First, it assumes that having integrity in some way contributes to the wholeness or completeness of a person and leads to consistency in thought and action over time. The second assumption is that this wholeness or completeness derives from having a dened and wholehearted interest in abiding by the right sorts of ethical principles and values. When conducting business, persons with integrity do not, so to speak, check their ethics at the door, lose their integrity when times are tough, and do not merely act in accordance with ethical standards when forced or incentivized. Third, ethicalorganizational integrity is achieved by aligning and unifying individual, company, and social ethical standards and expectations. It is critical to highlight at the outset that managing for ethical integrity is necessarily transformative. Transforming a business culture is a dicult task, however, especially when unethical conduct represents the status quo. Given this reality, why should managers go through the trouble of organizational change? Despite more philosophical concerns about a life worth living, shouldnt they simply weather the storm and wait for the business ethics fad to run its course? There are two very compelling and pragmatic reasons for not considering the current concern over business ethics a fad. First, several governmental and other voluntary compliance based standardization initiatives are requiring or otherwise encouraging managing for ethicalorganizational integrity. In the United States, for example, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines suggest a particular program for designing and implementing ethics programs with the explicit intent of promoting an ethicalorganizational culture.1 The programmatic suggestions are not mandatory. Nevertheless, companies who adhere to these suggestions receive lesser punishments when illegal and unethical acts occur. Companies who fail to adhere to these suggestions often face rather draconian nes.2 In Japan the Ethics Compliance Management System Standard (ECS 2000) has been designed with similar aims as the American system.3 Additionally, the international members from the Organization for

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Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) place fostering an ethical culture at the core of its Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.4 In short, there is an increasing linkage between ethicalorganizational integrity and legal compliance that is becoming codied in national and international standards. Second, the once arcane notion that business ethics is good business is beginning to receive more mainstream attention, especially in managerial theory and organizational practice.5 Indeed, ethicalorganizational integrity is now being seen as crucial for developing and sustaining such things as shareholder trust and lower capital costs, customer satisfaction and loyalty, ecient and productive workforces, employee retention, supply chain value, and environmental and social capital. While short-term corporate performance may sometimes still be enhanced through unethical means, the long-term nancial performance and sustainable value production of individual companies, or even whole industries, can be critically tied to their underlying level of ethicalorganizational integrity.6 Companies like Adidas, Ford Motor Company, Standard Chartered Bank, the National Australian Bank, Novo Nordisk, Henkel, and Electrolux contribute to an increasing body of empirical data showing that ethical companies can consistently outperform industry standards.7 Managing for ethicalorganizational integrity and the correlation of embracing sustainable value production is now becoming a competitive necessity. For Unilever Group Chief Executive Ocer Patrick J. Cescau the notion of doing well by doing good is clear. Companies that successfully embrace this agenda and integrate it into their businesses and brands will thrive. Those that fail to do so, or react too late to the dramatic social, economic, and environmental changes that are taking place in the world, risk becoming corporate casualties.8 Answering the following questions will give a general indication if companies are adequately addressing ethical concerns, are performing as well at they could, or are at risk. Does the company have an ethics code of conduct? Do mission statements include commitments to legal and ethical conduct? Does this commitment reect stakeholder values and rights?

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Does the company have clear and measurable ethical objectives? Are these objectives tied to performance metrics? Are ethical requirements present in company policies and procedures? Are employees aware of ethics and compliance based requirements? Does organizational leadership support ethics initiatives? Does the company have a culture that positively supports ethical behavior? Is ethical behavior part of the hiring, ring, promotion, and demotion process? Are there controls in place to monitor and detect unethical behavior? Are there incentives to promote ethical behavior? Does the company have a formal ethics and compliance program? Despite the growing legal and industry acceptance of the importance of managing for ethicalorganizational integrity and the increased attention companies are paying to addressing these sorts of questions, there remain two primary challenges. The rst challenge is largely philosophical and has to do with determining the exact ethical principles and values to which an organization and its constituents ought to aspire and the corresponding obligations they create. Part of the problem, of course, is that competing notions of ethics and organizational values can be found at play among dierent discussants of business ethics. In our globalized and pluralistic world, we often nd that people simply hold dierent and often competing ethical beliefs about that which is good, right, and virtuous. Indeed, academics, shareholders, employees, consumers, activists, governments, and their citizens hold dierent opinions about the ethical rules and obligations that ought to be imposed on businesses. These rules and obligations often dier across companies, nations, cultures, and economies and there appears to be no lasting consensus upon what the proper account of ethical values and standards is. As such, disagreement about organizational ethical identity abound.

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Even philosophical conversations and debates about the good, right, and virtuous have likewise failed to produce any overarching agreement as to the complete nature of morality. Even where there is some general normative consensus, as for instance when most would agree to the propositions that businesspersons ought to be socially responsible and businesspersons ought not to violate basic human rights, there is still much disagreement as to the more positive and concrete duties and practical implications that stem from recognizing these sorts of basic judgments. For example, the meaning of corporate social responsibility, say regarding climate change or sustainability, diers in European and American contexts. We also nd disputes about the exact corporate duties that correspond with human rights, say, on such issues regarding whether or not corporations are morally obligated to provide a living wage to their employees. There are also disputes as to the kind of character traits we desire in businesspersons. Should businesspersons be cold and callous or more compassionate? As long as these sorts of questions remain unanswered, business and organizational ethics will appear ill-dened and perhaps even inconsistent. This lack of clarity and consistency can even threaten to undercut the very organizationalethical integrity and unity managers are expected to foster. The problem is exacerbated as multinational companies cross various cultural and economic boundaries. In order to deal with the problem of dening what business ethics means and actually requires we need to develop certain enduring and action guiding principles. When invited to engage in a more philosophical debate about what principles should be used to determine what is good, right, and virtuous many businesspersons and students gravitate to one of three views. The rst is associated with ethical relativism. The relativist tends to hold the following beliefs. I) Persons across dierent cultures and societies hold dierent ethical beliefs. II) There is no objective truth in morality. III) We ought to respect personal and cultural beliefs about ethics.9 In a business context, this means that companies ought to abide by whatever rules are deemed ethical given prevailing, associative or cultural beliefs.

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Is this sound reasoning? The rst statement seems true. Empirical studies in business, sociology, and anthropology suggest as much. Diculties associated with holding statements II) and III) come to the surface, however, when considering certain types of problematic cases. Suppose that in some areas of the world cultural or societal beliefs condoned using children of particular ethnicities or classes as slaves. While in general cultural toleration may be virtuous, enslaving children on the basis of race or class and subjecting them to exploitative working conditions seems to be the sort of thing we ought not to respect. In saying as much we are making a strong normative claim and suggesting that we should try and compel those who engage in such practices to change their ways. Thus relative to III) practicing toleration does not entail that we are morally obligated to tolerate great forms of injustice. Regarding II), there do seem to be objective reasons that one can give and defend with regards to normative claims. Why is it wrong to enslave a child based on ethnicity or class? Well, enslaving another person and discriminating on the basis of ethnicity or class violates what many regard as basic human rights concerning equality and equal opportunity. Are there not some rights to which all human beings deserve simply by virtue of being human? Additionally, children are often deemed morally innocent and thus it seems wrong to inict deliberate and arbitrary harm on them. These sorts of reasons provide a much needed basis for moral evaluation and progress. Much of the work in philosophical ethics seeks to rationally justify, clarify, and defend these sorts of objective ethical claims. Furthermore, the statements made in II) and III) are logically inconsistent. Belief III) states that we ought to respect personal and cultural ethical beliefs (an objective, normative, and moral claim) and II) states that there are no objective truths in morality (there are no truly objective, normative, and moral claims); both cannot be true. As such, the relativists position seems to be self-defeating. While the relativists position seems faulty on philosophical grounds we also have very good reasons to reject it on practical grounds. Simply put, markets require objective normative commitments to work well or even to work at all. A free market is predicated on clear normative commitments that include truthful nancial reporting, recognizing and protecting private property, promoting fair competition and antitrust laws,

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and honoring contracts. Where free markets exist these specic moral commitments tend to be legally codied and enforced. The second view commonly used to ground business ethics is expressed in the belief that if its legal its ethical. The obligation that stems from this stance is legal compliance. As in the case of the ethical relativist the legal compliance based position is likewise problematic. Quite obviously there are many examples throughout history where laws were rightfully considered unjust, for example, the case of slavery. Those ghting to abolish slavery and in fact change existing laws were certainly not regarded as acting unethically. The compliance based position should at least be amended to indicate that we are ethically required to follow just law. This, however, is a necessary, but insucient condition for ethical behavior. The simple fact is that the legal code does not and never will cover all of our ethical commitments. As ethical decision-making often requires contextualization and judgment, ethical obligations simply cannot be fully codied. Additionally, situations on the ground change and the law often lags behind. Consider the case of pharmaceutical clinical trials. The United States, European Union, and most developed countries legally require a patients informed consent and a commitment to put the subjects welfare above the promise of scientic gain. Suppose that there are underdeveloped countries in which there are no such regulations. In countries without these regulations would it then be ethical to, say, test an unlicensed pharmaceutical on unknowing children in order to determine how harmful the drugs side eects are? Despite being legal there again are very good reasons to conclude that engaging in such clinical trials is unethical and in fact morally repugnant. One certainly does not need to be a philosopher or an ethicist to reach this conclusion. In fact, even among legal compliance specialists the idea that if its legal its ethical no longer rings true.10 The third and once widely held view is that a managers ethical responsibility is to simply make as much money as they can for their company. As stated by the neoclassical and Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, a managers only social responsibility is to maximize prot for shareholders.11 Unlike the relativist- and compliance-based positions this view is not obviously wrong. In fact, those who support it rightly draw attention to the fact that successful companies in a free market greatly contribute to social welfare, for example, by creating jobs, attracting

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capital, producing a variety of desirable products, and providing a solid governmental tax base. Despite this realization, the prot maximization and shareholder-centric managerial model falls short on other grounds and structuring an ethicalorganizational integrity program around its main principles is ill-advised. Substantiating this conclusion will take some work and we will further examine Friedmans claims in each respective chapter. In short, this book is designed to help business and business ethics students and managers understand and resolve the problems associated with guring out what ethics actually requires and to provide sound principles and processes for those interested in managing for ethicalorganization integrity. We will use the prot maximization and shareholder centric model as a framework and jumping o point for doing so. Chapter 1 begins by exploring the thesis that managers require the right sort of conceptual framework when managing for ethicalorganizational integrity. We know that in order to be ethical one must do what is good. In business this means being responsible to ones company and also being socially responsible. We begin the chapter by more fully describing the neoclassical framework for business ethics and corporate socially responsibility. While we certainly think that by contributing to a strong economic base company success best promotes overall social welfare, we sharply disagree with the idea that focusing on shareholders and protability best accomplishes this end. In fact, adhering to the rather myopic neoclassical managerial framework creates more harm than good. We then explain, develop, and ultimately advocate a stakeholder oriented approach to ethicalorganizational management and corporate social responsibility. In short, we nd that the stakeholder approach provides a superior framework for understanding and fullling the ethical obligations of business and systematically promoting ethicalorganizational integrity and company success. The overarching principle behind our approach is that driving long-term company success and sustainable value production (however dened), understanding and trying to meet stakeholder expectations, and developing stakeholder capabilities are mutually dependent. Furthermore, that there are various metrics, including the long-term market value of a rm, stakeholder satisfaction measures, and newly emerging social and environmental capital metrics, that can and do objectively capture managerial performance and prevent

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managerial opportunism. We then provide a step-by-step procedure for doing what is good in business and suggestions for how to deal with conict when perceived goods conict. Chapter 2 provides philosophical insight into the nature and extent of stakeholder rights and corresponding managerial duties and oers ways to help resolve moral conict when rights and duties conict. While chapter 1 focuses managerial eorts on company success, chapter 2 recognizes that there are moral limits to pursuing company success. To help better dene these limits and the specic obligations stakeholder rights impose, we introduce some more exacting terminology. As most people recognize some moral rights have a greater signicance than others. We recognize as fundamental rights those rights that are the weightiest in nature. We take it that these rights are inherently valuable, promote something very important (individual integrity and the integrity of social practices), are under threat, and the duties that they give rise to ought to always be respected.12 Human rights, for example, fall under the category of fundamental rights. We then recognize derivative rights as those rights that may protect something of great importance but nevertheless can be justiably infringed upon.13 Privacy rights are of this sort and ought only be infringed upon when doing so protects some other greater good. Additionally, the term special obligation is used to characterize relationships with acutely vulnerable and dependent stakeholders and thus demands extra managerial attention and care. We have, for example, special obligations when marketing potentially unsafe products to children. We also distinguish between positive rights and negative rights to further clarify the nature and extent of managerial responsibilities. This terminology is then used to identify and prioritize the rights of and corresponding obligations due to various stakeholders. The rst two chapters are more philosophically oriented and try to better dene and understand what is good and right to do in business. Although technical at times, developing a more philosophically rigorous outlook and vocabulary is a critical task. Philosophy and normative ethics set the foundations upon which business and other social practices are built and it is of utmost importance to start from a solid foundation. If we do not get the foundation right we cannot expect to get the practice of ethics right. Of course, theoretical and philosophical knowledge

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does not always lead to ethical action. Employees may know very well what ethics requires but lack the character or organizational support to act on their beliefs. Chapter 3 addresses these concerns by rst providing some philosophical insight into what constitutes ethical character and how character ought to be developed. In the neoclassical model ethical character extends from the agential relationship said to exist between managers and shareholders. As good agents, managers ought to faithfully, loyally, and with great care attend to shareholder expectations. We again nd the neoclassic account to be too myopic. This chapter draws on the philosophy of Aristotle to dene and explain the character traits betting a managers relationship with various stakeholders, shareholders included. The second part of chapter 3 identies the core features of ethics programs that promote intellectual and moral development. These core features are reected in the various ethics- and compliance-based integrity programs mentioned above, for example, the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines, ECS 2000, and OECD suggestions. This nal section is the most practical in nature and will stipulate the processes and provide concrete recommendations for creating and sustaining an ethicalorganizational culture. Along the way we try to substantiate and illustrate the specic claims we make and the views we endorse. We do not, however, claim to resolve all theoretical and practical issues. Both philosophical and practical issues and disputes will inevitably remain unanswered. While there will be certain things a businessperson ought to never do and some things a businessperson ought to always do, there is no single formula or managerial approach that resolves all issues in business and organizational ethics. In our account, being ethical and having integrity is not merely about following discrete rules. Being ethical sets in motion attempts to actively and continually transform practices, persons, and ways of doing business to better reect philosophically grounded normative ideals. Like other forms of management, managing for ethicalorganizational integrity is an art that admits many renderings and narratives and is open to revision and trial and error. With this in mind, we end each chapter with sets of thought-provoking questions that draw attention to current theoretical and practical issues and debates. Does stakeholder theory require a single value function? How much should we value prot? Are corporations

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persons? Is there a priority of the right over the good? Are shareholder rights primary? Which leadership models better promote organizational integrity? These are some of the theoretical and practical questions that are raised throughout this work. The emphasis on both normative theory and practice will be of value to business managers, executives, and students and instructors alike. Business professionals may be more interested in the practical implications of this book, but will benet by understanding the philosophical ground upon which these practices are based. The book could certainly be used in an undergraduate or graduate management class, providing the instructor and students with a general framework to further examine particular business scenarios and cases and develop more concrete business strategies. Likewise, the text provides enough background of the philosophical issues to be used in a more traditionally oriented business ethics course, in which case the instructor could easily use the framework provided in the book to illustrate the practical import of business ethics, while using the normative issues raised as the basis for further in-class and more philosophically oriented discussion and debate. For both management and business ethics students, this book provides a framework that can also be used to analyze a variety of case studies and complements many of the accepted business and business ethics textbooks already in the market. Finally, it should be noted that this text is written in a style that is meant to engage managers and students in an accessible and pragmatic manner. One of our primary aims in writing this text is to provide an overview of business ethics for managers and students of business that can readily be used to analyze and respond to ethical issues in management. As such, we have tried to limit discussions of purely theoretical issues to those absolutely necessary for a working understanding of the salient aspects of organizational ethics and we have tried to keep scholarly references to a minimum. For readers who are interested in following up on the vast array of academic research pertinent to the issues we discuss, we provide references for further reading at the end of each chapter that provide a good starting point for further research for such interested parties. Likewise, since our aim is to provide a working model for managers to use in developing ethicalorganizational integrity, we most denitely promote a particular view of business ethics in this work. As noted above,

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we do defend this view and contrast it with alternative views where possible, given the aims and intended audience of the book. However, to cover every dispute between the view we advocate and other competing views or to detail all of the theoretical positions that have been taken on these issues would have resulted in us writing a much dierent, and more narrowly academically oriented, kind of book. Again, where feasible we note where our view signicantly diers from others and point readers more interested in such theoretical debates to some of the relevant literature. We believe that the approach we advocate here is both theoretically justiable and pragmatically eective, but above all, we hope to have written a work that will provide managers and future managers with a basic understanding of the ethical issues inherent in business and one that gives them the tools to constructively manage for ethicalorganizational integrity.